“You can come in here and dance, no one worries about if you’re good or not. Michelle makes everyone feel so welcome!” said Matthew Yang a regular at Monday night Zumba. Yang has leaped into Zumba classes at the Black Box Cabaret (BBC) every Monday for the past two semesters.
Monday night Zumba is led by Michelle Salvador, a Zumba instructor at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) for the last six years. “I just love the all the students. When they come in smiling and ready to dance is when I am happy,” said Salvador.
Michelle encourages all Otters to waltz into Zumba and get your blood pumping. The environment is inclusive and welcoming, which makes sweating away extra calories more enjoyable. I attended Zumba, and I have to say that the class is so much fun to get lost in.
When you first enter the BBC, students are lined up eager for 6 p.m. to strike, which is when doors open. Prospective dancers are required to show their Otter ID card as well as signing a release waiver stating that if you get hurt, you won’t sue Michelle. This is a small price to pay for such amazing fun.
Students start to get loose and begin to dance even before Michelle is ready. The fun and energetic energy is palpable in the air as people spread out to have enough room to dance.
Even some of the staff members from the BBC have their exercise clothes on because it is impossible to resist the motions of Zumba. It can take a second to get into the beat if you’re not used to a Cumbia or Salsa rhythm.
While a good selection of the songs are in Spanish (I’m looking at you, Latinx Otters), they are so easy to dance to and everyone loves stepping to the beats. There is a lot of fun jumping, stepping, twisting and dropping it low that will make you sweat and get your heart rate up. Michelle even calls up students to the stage to help demonstrate moves and dance along with her.
There is no judgement at the BBC when it is Zumba time. It is all about dancing, having fun, and working out in a fun and positive way. If there is a move that you can’t do, no one is going to judge you or tell you it isn’t right. You can just do what feels good to you and continue to dance.